Passengers disembark a Westjet aircraft that skidded off the runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. The airline confirmed Flight 248 was en route from Toronto to Halifax and had landed on Runway 14 when the jet skidded off the end of the runway with 172 passengers and seven crew members aboard. The company said there were no injuries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Passengers removed from WestJet aircraft after it skids off Halifax runway

The eastern half of the province was under a winter storm warning when the jet landed

A passenger jet skidded off the end of a runway at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport during a snowstorm on Sunday, but a spokeswoman for WestJet said there were no injuries.

The airline confirmed Flight 248 — en route from Toronto to Halifax — landed just after noon and overshot Runway 14 with 172 passengers and seven crew members aboard.

Photos from the scene suggest the Boeing 737-800 escaped major damage. However, the airport authority confirmed the aircraft was left disabled at the end of the runway.

Passenger Eric Wynne, a photographer with the daily Halifax Chronicle-Herald, said the landing was “a little chaotic.”

“It was a little more violent, in that I’m sure (the plane) had a bit of wind shear,” he said in an interview. “As we hit the tarmac, it was rocking, rolling side to side, but the aircrew kept it true and straight.”

Wynne said once the aircraft settled down, everything seemed normal — until the plane came to a stop.

“We saw snow-covered grass outside the windows,” he said. “And then the pilot came on and said we slid off the runway.”

The transition to the grassy area was a smooth one, Wynne said.

“It was just like me driving my car and ending up on the shoulder,” he said, adding that the jet appeared to have travelled about 50 metres beyond the runway.

“It was snowing, but not a lot,” he said. “But there was an accumulation on the ground.”

Wynne said the crew and passengers remained calm as buses arrived to take them to the terminal.

All passengers were removed from the stricken airplane by 2:30 p.m. However, the plane had yet to be moved by 6 p.m. local time.

The eastern half of the province, including the region east of Halifax, was under a winter storm warning when the jet landed. Heavy snow and whiteout conditions were evident at the airport soon after the plane came down.

ALSO READ: Dozens of flights cancelled in Montreal as ice storm hits Eastern Canada

WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the airline later issued an apology to travellers and cancelled three flights into St. John’s, N.L., Halifax and Toronto.

Later in the day, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed it had sent an investigative team to the airport. The independent agency, which investigates air, rail, marine and pipeline accidents, released the aircraft to WestJet at 4:30 p.m.

On Nov. 7, 2018, a Boeing 747 cargo jet overshot the same runway, plowed through some approach lights and navigation gear, and came close to crashing through the airport’s outer fence.

The SkyLease Cargo plane was badly damaged as it slid 210 metres off the end of the runway in rainy conditions while being buffeted by a crosswind with a potential tailwind.

Flight KKE 4854, which had arrived from Chicago just after 5 a.m., was to be loaded with live lobster destined for China.

At the time, the airport authority was in the process of installing a runway-end safety area, a kind of buffer strip that gives planes extra stopping distance and can reduce damage and risk to passengers in the event of an overrun.

The Transportation Safety Board says all runways longer than 1,800 metres should have a 300-metre runway-end safety area or a means of stopping aircraft that provides an equivalent level of safety. Runway 14 is 2,300 metres long.

Since 2005, there have been 140 runway overruns in Canada, 19 of which have been the subject of a comprehensive TSB investigation.

— With files from Andrew Vaughan.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First Nations youth get hands on archaeological experience

Delving into the ancient past has inspired the future aspirations of four First Nations youth

Solo exhibition “Pastel Stories” debuts at Quesnel Art Gallery

Marcela Bodorikova showcases experimentation with pastels in gallery’s August exhibition

RANCH MUSINGS: What is a rancher doing writing about pigs in the middle of haying?

Simple, it rained last evening enough so will have to let the hay dry (again).

Quesnel-Hydraulic Road slide threatening livelihoods of local ranchers, residents

Ranchers say cattle cannot get to sale if MOTI does not repair road before fall

Bats in August may be pups learning to fly

Mid-summer is the time when landowners typically notice more bat activity

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read